KTAR’s Mike Broomhead to moderate televised candidate Q&A with Kari Lake
PHOENIX – KTAR News 92.3 FM and AZTV7 host Mike Broomhead will moderate the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission televised gubernatorial candidate event, which is set to air Sunday.
The program, most likely a 30-minute Q&A with Republican Kari Lake, will be broadcast by AZTV7 and streamed online starting at 5 p.m.
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission remains open to making it a debate between Lake and Katie Hobbs, but the Democrat has repeatedly turned down CCEC’s invitation to participate in a moderated face-to-face format.
“We’re still hoping it will be a debate,” Broomhead said Thursday morning. “And we are set up for whatever comes our way.”
Lake’s interview was originally scheduled for Oct. 12 on Arizona PBS, but CCEC postponed it that day after the learning of the station’s plan to conduct and air an interview with Hobbs independently of its partnership with CCEC.
Gina Roberts, CCEC voter education director, told KTAR News on Tuesday morning that PBS didn’t tell the commission about the Hobbs interview plan before it became public.
“It was the lack of communication, the timing of it and the fact that they broke protocol into how we previously conducted our events together, that was really what the commission took issue with,” Roberts said. “It’s not the fact that Arizona PBS as a journalistic entity is speaking with candidates, as they are … welcome to do that. We have no concern with that.”
As a result, CCEC broke off its debate partnership with PBS and sought out a new broadcast partner, reaching a deal this week with AZTV7.
Arizona PBS aired its Hobbs interview on Tuesday evening, when she reiterated that she had no intention of debating Lake.
“For me, this debate about debates is over,” Hobbs told host Ted Simons.
CCEC sponsors debates for all of Arizona’s contested statewide and legislative races as part of its voter education responsibilities. The nonpartisan board was created as part of the Clean Elections Act passed by voters in 1998. Most of this year’s debates were already done when the dispute with PBS came up.
The commission’s policy has been that when only one candidate in a race agrees to participate, that person gets a one-on-one interview in place of a debate.
Hobbs told KTAR News last week that the PBS interview would be “the chance to make my case directly to the voters of Arizona, which is what I’ve continued to do throughout this campaign.
“Being a part of a Kari Lake spectacle is not going to do that, and I’m not interested in embarrassing the state again, like what happened with the GOP primary debate.”
Lake and the other candidates constantly talked over each other and the moderator during the primary debate in June. Video highlights went viral and were the target of national ridicule.
Hobbs also passed on debating against primary opponent Marco Lopez, but she was heavily favored in that race and easily won the nomination. Polls are showing the general election as a toss-up.
Lake has been pushing Hobbs to debate and bashing her for avoiding it.
“I hope you find the courage to join me,” Lake tweeted Tuesday after CCEC rescheduled the Q&A.
The original gubernatorial event date was the same day early voting started in Arizona for the Nov. 8 general election. Lake’s CCEC interview will now come nearly halfway through the early-voting period.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.